Professor Haley Gomez

Professor Haley Gomez

Head of Public Engagement, School of Physics and Astronomy

School of Physics and Astronomy

Media commentator

The goal of my work is to understand the formation and evolution of cosmic dust, particularly where it is formed.

I am involved with analyzing data from the Herschel Space Observatory as part of programs such as Mass loss from Evolved StarS, The Herschel Reference Survey and Herschel-ATLAS. I was awarded an ERC Consolidator grant in 2015.

I obtained my first degree from Cardiff University in 2001 and stayed on to do my PhD with Prof Mike Edmunds and Prof Steve Eales, awarded in 2004.

I obtained a fellowship with the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to carry out post-doctoral research during 2004-2005. I then was hired here at Cardiff as a lecturer and was made a Senior Lecturer in July 2013 and was awarded a Personal Chair in Astrophysics in 2015.

Honours and awards

  • 2015 Fowler Prize for early career achievement by the Royal Astronomical Society
  • 2015 ERC Laureate
  • 2014 Inspire Wales Awards for most inspirational welsh person in Science and Technology Category
  • 2005 Research fellowship from Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
  • 2005 RAS Michael Penston prize for best UK thesis in Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • 2005 Shortlisted for the Times Higher Young Researcher of the Year Award
  • Runner up for the Cavendish medal (most outstanding piece of research and R and D by a younger researcher in the UK) at the SET for Britain event in the House of Commons 2005.

I have been invited to present my research at Buckingham Palace. I am a fellow of the Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851 and Higher Education Academy and part of the WISE in Wales Committee, a campaign which collaborates with industrial and academic partners to encourage UK girls to pursue STEM or construction related courses/careers (I have also been a part of the Role Model series).

Professional memberships

  • European Space Agency Working Group
  • External Examiner Southampton University
  • ERC Laureate
  • Committee member of STFC Astronomy Grants Panel
  • STFC Ernest Rutherford fellowship Committee member (chair Extragalactic)
  • STFC Education, Training and Careers Committee member
  • STFC JCMT Legacy Surveys TAC
  • STFC JCMT Time Allocation Group member
  • Referee for STFC grants, GEMINI and JCMT telescope applications
  • STFC member of Women in SET Focus Group
  • Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society

Speaking engagements

Organiser of scientific conferences for the Royal Astronomical Society, see review report here and co-Organiser Lifecycle of Dust 2013 in Taiwan including editor of the conference proceedings.

Committees and reviewing

I am Head of Public Engagement in the School and as part of this role, I manage 1.5 FTE outreach staff. I also represent the School on the following internal committees

  • School Board (nominated member)
  • Outreach Committee (Chair)

In the past I have been a member of the following committees

  • Equality & Diversity Committee
  • Research Committee
  • Course Committee
  • Web Committee

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have a Postgraduate teaching qualification. I have mentored other staff members through the Postgraduate diploma. I supervise and assess 3rd and 4th Year project students (~7-8 pa), and am academic tutor for 1st and 2nd years, personal tutor for years 1-4.

Previous module organiser for:

  • Year 2 Observational Techniques in Astronomy: Laboratory course (double module 20 credits)
  • Year 3: Physical Cosmology
  • Year 4: Gregynog (residential course for MPhys project students)
  • Year 2: The Physics of Stars
  • Year 2: Planetary Systems
  • Year 1: Cosmos

Cosmic dust is a nuisance to astronomers as it blocks out optical light, affecting our view of the Universe. It is also very important as dust affects star formation, stellar mass loss rates, the formation of molecular hydrogen and planets.

Our latest work suggests that supernovae or their progenitor stars may be responsible for polluting the interstellar medium with lots of dust. Previously it was thought that low mass stars, which take around a billion years to evolve, were the main contributor to the dust budget. This is especially important in the early Universe where fast-lived, massive stars would be the only source of dust.

I am currently supervising Zoe Ballard, Jeni Millard, Rosie Beeston and Hannah Chawner in projects ranging from dusty galaxies and supernova remnants.

I also co-supervise Subhajit Sarkar (main supervisor Enzo Pascale) on exoplanet research.

Past projects

PhD students Chris Clark and Simon Schofield successfully defended their PhD in Dec 2014 and Dec 2016 respectively.

Areas of expertise

External profiles